History 1896 – 1930


On 1 October, the revised statute of the Carl Zeiss Foundation came into full force and effect. At the same time, it thus becomes the corporate constitution of the foundation companies for more than a century. His regulations on health, pension and survivors’ insurance, working hours, salary, and leave as well as his appointment of an independent workers’ committee for issuing advisory opinions to the Executive Board are exemplary for his time. The statute anticipates developments that are established as norms more than half a century later in the form of a modern labour law. For example, the regulation on worker representation only became obsolete after the Works Constitution Act was enforced in 1952. In addition to these foundation goals, expected to be fulfilled by each of the foundation companies, the statute provides for various funding areas outside of the foundations, including the promotion of science/research (through the University of Jena), the promotion of general interests of the precision technology industry and measures benefiting the labour force in the Jena area. However, the main focus remains on the promotion of science.


In an amendment to the statute of the foundation dated 24 February, Ernst Abbe sets out the detailed type and procedure of the Carl Zeiss Foundation's grants to the University of Jena and their use.


Inauguration of the “Volkshaus” (community centre) in Jena, which was built by the foundation and housed a library as well as club and meeting rooms.


The grants from the Carl Zeiss Foundation to the University of Jena exceed those of the state.


Ernst Abbe passes away on 14 January.


Construction of the Abbe memorial designed by Henry van de Velde in Jena. Inside there are bronze reliefs by Constantin Emile Meunier and a marble herma by Max Klinger.


Otto Schott transfers his shares to the foundation, which also makes the foundation the sole owner of Jenaer Glaswerk.

Examples of the funding activities of the Carl Zeiss Foundation between 1889 and 1930

Funding is mostly allocated to social and cultural institutions of Jena and the University of Jena. In addition to an extensive construction programme, professorships and lecturer positions are financed and grants or contributions in kind to institutes or projects are made. The most important funding plans of the period between the two World Wars were:
  • Construction of the Volkshaus (1903)
  • New construction of the main university building, half funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation (1908)
  • Construction of the Volksbad (community pool) (1909)
  • Construction of one of the first pure children's hospitals in Germany (1917)
  • Construction of the Abbeaneum, a striking Bauhaus-style building that contained the Optical Institute and the Institute of Applied Mathematics and is now used as a teaching and research facility for the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (1930)